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It's not worth programming at factory IMHO unless you have extremely high volume. On a small scale, firmware is the most likely thing you're going to cock up. Between the parts being programmed and arriving, you're one FW revision up potentially. Best to build a programming header into the design and load before packing. You can load test jig firmware in before as well then.

Also some bottom rung assemblers you don't want to trust with your production firmware!

For me, 200 boards:

1. JLCPCB board + parts + assembly service. 2. Final assembly (non placeable parts) yourself. 3. Load firmware in and test via own test/programming jig. 4. Pack and send.

Out of curiosity, who do you usually use for your assembly service? I've ordered boards from JLCPCB, but only ever done assembly myself. Can you typically send your JLCPCB orders straight to the assembly house? Would love to hear more about the process of using an assembly service.

I haven't done it for a few years. Used a local service here in the UK for it who don't exist any more.

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